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There is a huge impetus for flexible working, whether it is homeworking, reduced hours, job shares, flexi hours, term-time working or some other form of working differently from the traditional 9-5 Monday-Friday. A recent Capability Jane webinar pointed out some of the factors which make it a no brainer:
Then there is the benefit of flexible working for business, including boosting retention and recruitment and increasing commitment and motivate. Moreover, increasing diversity through flexible working in turn makes for better business which better reflects consumers.
Flexible working also increases productivity [RBS found there was an over 90% increase with flexible working] and employee engagement.
It reduces absenteeism. Headset manufacturer Plantronics saw a reduction in absenteeism from 12% to 3% and turnover of staff fell from 15% to 3%.
Why aren’t businesses meeting that business case and demand by promoting new flexible roles? Sara Hill of Capability Jane said 34% of professional workers want to work flexibly, but only 6% of jobs were promoted on a flexible basis. “There is a huge gap between candidate demand and what is available,” she stated.
Offering flexible working from recruitment onwards opened jobs up to a wider talent pool, she added. That included putting flexible working as an option in job descriptions, questioning if hours for a role had to be set in stone and asking what level of responsiveness was necessary at any point in the day. “It’s about understanding the nature of the job and the level of responsiveness needed,” said Hill. Could a five-day job be done in four with an on call for emergencies? Could a full-time role be done by a job share? It was also about creating a level of trust that a person could manage their own time and managing expectations of part-time workers properly so they are not overworked or set up to fail.